In 2016, Austin doom unit Monte Luna dropped their debut demo—a self-titled release with just one self-titled track more than 20 minutes long—and just a few months later followed it with their powerful first EP, The Hound. These served as appetizers for their self-titled 2017 full-length debut, which exuded confidence and showcased a trippy heaviness fit for total immersion. While the album was the band’s first release after downsizing from a trio to a duo, its rich layers of throbbing noise seemed to come from a much bigger group. Monte Luna built on that steady foundation to deliver something even richer and stronger on the 2019 album Drowners’ Wives—a pulsing, lurching critter with a Melvins-ish postmodern flair that demonstrated a strong current of fresh thinking and a willingness to play with the doom genre while maintaining absolute loyalty to its aesthetic. The gauntlet-dropping lead single, “The Water Hag,” wraps mournful horror in folkloric themes and sonically simulates the feel of being dragging down to the depths of the ocean.
In summer 2020, Monte Luna—by then a trio of vocalist and guitarist James Clarke, drummer Danny Marschner (also a visual artist), and bassist Garth Condit—performed three new tracks on Cvlt Nation’s livestream and put the recordings up for sale on Bandcamp (a portion of the proceeds benefit Austin music venues). The absolutely gnarly “Blackstar” is full of long rift shifts and changes; “Rust Goliath” is a powerful assault on the senses; and “Fear the Sun” rides a loping slow-burn build into a churning, lurching groove. Having survived COVID, lockdown, and (per their Facebook page) a bullet fired into Marschner’s van on a wild University of Texas game night, the band are out on the road for a long tour with Dallas/Fort Worth-based Temptress. As a kind of mantra, the band include the words “Your eyes are dazed and heavy” in many of their social-media posts, and their music suggests they’ll deliver on that promise live.
Monte Luna, Temptress, Plague of Carcosa, Murnau Mon 10/25, 7 PM, Reggies Music Joint, 2105 S. State, $12, 21+